C-store robber charged [UPDATED]

Published 11:04am Thursday, October 6, 2011 Updated 1:18pm Monday, October 10, 2011

Robert Allen Higgins, the man accused of robbing the Holiday gas station early Tuesday morning while wearing a gorilla mask, was charged in court Wednesday for first degree aggravated robbery and second degree assault.

Police responded to the gas station on Union Avenue shortly before 1 a.m. after the station employee who was present at the time of the robbery called 911, court records reported. The employee reported that he was cleaning the coffee bar when he saw a man, later allegedly identified as Higgins, 39, of Fergus Falls, enter the building while wearing a gorilla mask.

Because the mask was a gorilla, the employee believed the robber was pulling a prank. That quickly changed, however, when Higgins allegedly pulled a serrated butcher knife and threatened to kill the employee if he didn’t give him the money in the gas station’s cash box. The employee tried to run, court records stated, but he was not able to leave the gas station and eventually agreed to get the money ($120 in all) from the box. Higgins allegedly told the employee that he’d be back before leaving the building.

Security footage backs up the employee’s story, according to court records.

Higgins, however, was caught before the employee was even done with his interview. According to law enforcement, a Fergus Falls police officer had seen Higgins fleeing the scene near Washington and Court Street and chased him down, eventually tasering Higgins when he would not comply with police commands. Higgins later allegedly confessed to the robbery and said he was going to use the money to pay off some bills before killing himself.

Higgins was charged earlier this year in connection with the Operation: Spring Cleanup drug bust in Fergus Falls. Court records accused him of selling marijuana in front of his 3-year-old daughter in early 2011.

Court records also stated that Higgins wrote the Holiday employee an apology letter for his actions.

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